Mike Burrows, a Comox-raised golfer living in Austria, tied for second place at the PGA Seniors’ Championship last week in Burlington, Ont.
He broke par in each round, shooting 69, 67 and 69, equalling the 205 total of Gar Hamilton, who at 68 won the Super Senior division. Seven strokes ahead was Victoria’s Jim Rutledge, who won the tournament for the fifth time.
“Last year was the year to win, without the big boys there,” Burrows, noting the absence of Rutledge in 2016, said from Austria. “It’s pretty hard to beat that guy. He’s still an amazing player.”
As this year’s tournament approached, Burrows thought a good result was in the making if the putter co-operated. His putter was on fire the first day with six birdies, but five bogies brought his score up to one under for the round. Though his putting cooled on the second day, missing a few tap-ins for birdie, Burrows still shot a 67.
“My playing partners said I should have shot 10 under, but that’s golf,” said Burrows, whose 87-year old father, Syd, was his caddy.
On Day 3, playing with Rutledge and Hamilton, Burrows thought his nerves might get the better of him. But turns out he saved his best for last, hitting 16 greens and two fringes. But two birdies and a three-putt ended any chance of catching Rutledge.
He said Hamilton’s skill was also “unbelievable,” especially his short game.
“He’s won everything in Canada,” said Burrows, who earned $4,250 for the second-place tie. Rutledge pocketed $9,000.
Burrows learned the sport at Comox Golf Club, Glacier Greens and at Storey Creek, working under Jim Nolan. In 1994 he moved to Austria, where he runs a golf academy with girlfriend and fellow pro, Michaela, at a hotel in the Kitzbühel Alps.
“We just teach over here,” Burrows said. “Over the last 23 years I’ve had pretty good success playing in the various mini tours and pro-ams. I’ve been runner up six times in our PGA championship of Austria, always losing to senior tour winner Gordon Manson, or Claude Grenier, who won the CPGA seniors last year.”